This is it, friends. Get your blind-upset-picks in now, because tomorrow’s prices will be set based on the hard-fact results of today’s matches. But, for now, we’re still working off the pre-tournament guesstimates.
So if you’ve got a good feeling about a particular team’s chances, go all-in on them today and play for the upset. Otherwise, stick with the usual “Rock-Paper-Scissors-and-Korea-beats-everything” mindset we usually rely on.
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The Stud: Looper vs. SM ($7200)This is a tasty, tasty matchup. RNG should continue the beat-train on SM that SKT will have started just a few hours earlier, and Looper should be holding the biggest stick.
Looper’s stats are unparalleled in his region — 5 KDA, almost 300 CS, and a 72% KP. Poor little FabFabulous won’t even know what hit him.
The Value Pick: Darshan vs. FW ($5800)I may just be a little too patriotic, but I’m putting plenty of my salary cap into Darshan and other key CLG players in these first two contests. They’re on an absolute tear right now and have already proven they can contain wild aggression this season.
If CLG loses their first game, they could go into a tournament-long slump. But until I see that happen, I think they’re the best value picks in the tournament — and you can grab as many as you want at this low price. Like always with CLG though, grab Darshan first. He’s the focal point.
The Stud: Blank vs. G2 ($6500)I like G2 as much as anyone, but their chances of winning this game is very low. And G2 only knows one way of living: fight until the game ends. That should give SKT plenty of opportunities to score points as G2 holds off longer than SM will in their first game.
I especially like their jungler as a pick, since he’s cheaper than the carries and should be able to get involved early and often — so even if the game doesn’t last long, he’ll get his points.
The Value Pick: Trick vs. SKT ($5500)If you’re a bigger believer than I am, and you want to gamble on some G2 greatness today, Trick is the very first person to grab. He’s really the only viable path to victory I see for G2. He’ll need to play out of his mind and apply pressure onto all 3 lanes while confounding Blank’s attempts to keep up.
It’s as unlikely as a fairy tale, but it’s your best bet on a team of underdogs.
The Stud: Faker vs. G2 ($7600)You actually get a nice discount on Faker in this contest because of the unknown international strength of G2 — newcomers to the scene.
But, just between you and me, we know their strength relative to Faker and friends, right? They won’t be able to keep up and Faker should be able to flex his muscles without causing the Nexus to instantly explode, like it will against SM.
The Value Pick: HuHi vs. FW ($6700)I’d prefer to take Maple in this matchup, but I’m definitely not the only one to think that, which is why HuHi is $600(!) cheaper. That price discount is pure disrespect for the conquering kings of North America. Maple and Flash Wolves are strong, but not that much stronger. I’ll happily buy in here to pay for a substantial upgrade in another position.
The Stud: Bang vs. G2 ($7700)Look at Bang, throwing shade on Faker with his $100 price tag premium! Guess who’s the really carry on the team now?!
That tiny price increase isn’t going to scare away many buyers today — and it shouldn’t. G2 is the perfect opponent for SKT to play a full, long game with tons of team fights. Bang should shine.
The Value Pick: Emperor vs. SKT ($6600)Boy, am I going to feel dumb if G2 rolls over and dies today. But, the thing is, with so many stomps set up, it’s hard to find a value ADC that isn’t just a wild guess.
But if SKT stumble at G2, this game should drag out and Emperor will hopefully get plenty of damage (and points) in before falling in team fights. If you want a little more stability, go with Stixxay. He’s more likely to win his matchup, but also more likely to have rookie jitters and collapse under the pressure. Ah, the joys of buying discount ADCs on day one of the tournament!
The Stud: Wolf vs. G2 ($5600)If SKT goes for a lane swap, Wolf and Bang should have an absolute field day against Kikis, who’s easily G2′s weakest lane. With a little jungle help, Wolf should be able to get some early assists and earn the gold he’ll need to enter team fights with enough sweet gear to let him soak up more points.
The Value Pick: Aphromoo vs. FW ($4900)Aphro may be playing babysitter to Stixxay in their first game, but he should be free to express himself through huge play-making moves and aggressive engages here. And, if they work, it should bring in tons of fantasy points — more than enough to cover this paltry price.
The Stud: Royals Never Give Up vs. SM ($5700)I almost don’t want to draft this team spot because I think the name is so ridiculous and confusing, but I can’t deny the potential for points here. SM is out of their league and shouldn’t be able to stop RNG from taking anything they want.
The Value Pick: Counter Logic Gaming vs. FW ($4300)Just like we picked in the earlier matchup, CLG’s style always produces good team points. Grab them with confidence and enjoy the savings.
The closest Josh Augustine got to going pro in esports was beating his older brother at Street Fighter. He currently works as a game designer at Daybreak Games. He’d love to talk with you on Twitter.